You won’t likely drive past Domilise’s bar/sandwich shop by accident, for it is located in an unscenic blue-collar neighborhood by the river; and if you did accidentally drive by, you’d never guess that it is one of New Orleans must-eat restaurants. From the outside it looks like a small, no-frills neighborhood tavern; and in some ways, that is what it is. We guess it would be possible to walk in, sit at the bar, and knock back longnecks or boilermakers all day long. To do so, you’d have to have no sense of smell, for the air of this tavern is wildly perfumed with its true claim to fame: po-boy ingredients. Shrimp, oysters, and catfish, smoking hot from the fry basket, are heaped onto loaves of good bread. Po-boys are also available made from all manner of cold cuts.
When you walk in the door, you may have to take a number before you can place your order. At the height of lunch hour, Domilise’s is packed, for its superior po-boys attract eaters from all over the city; table space is precious (strangers often share); and the house phone rings unanswered.
For the newcomer, a little delay is a good thing because it provides an opportunity to read the menu on the wall and to observe the sandwich makers construct various types of po-boys before deciding which is the right one for you. Hot smoked sausage with gravy is the one we recommend above all others. Get it “dressed,” meaning topped with tomato, lettuce, and grainy Creole mustard. A large one is constructed on a length of bread so long that it must be cut in thirds to fit on its paper plate. While the sandwich is being made, buy your drink at the bar and hope that by the time you are ready to eat, space at a table is available.